Posts Tagged: unemployment

Illinois to businesses: Please, please stay here

David Mercer of the Associated Press has a nice piece on how Illinois has increased the number of tax breaks it gave companies last year in order to keep their headquarters in the state. “Illinois’ government agreed last year to give $272.7 million in tax breaks and other incentives to 67 companies that had invitations from other states to move jobs elsewhere,” Mercer reports. This quadruples the amount of such incentives given to businesses in 2006 and it translates to about $17,000 in taxpayer money for each job kept in the state.  Government subsidized jobs are arguably a less expensive strategy to combat unemployment.

Is Quinn allowed to keep Illinois at work?

Pat Quinn

Last week I blogged that Illinois Gov. Pat Quinn, a Democrat, decided to spend $47 million to extend Put Illinois to Work, which originally started as a federal stimulus bill jobs program but is now being paid for entirely by the state. Civics 101 students may have wondered how the governor can decide to spend money without the state legislature’s approval. The Chicago Tribune’s Monique Garcia reports that the GOP leader in the Illinois Senate, Christine Radogno, is wondering the same thing — Radogno sent a letter to Quinn Friday questioning both the effectiveness of Put Illinois to Work and whether Quinn could legally extend the program.

The conflict centers around two of the biggest problems in Illinois — high unemployment and a state government that has avoided confronting a historic $15 billion or so budget deficit. (more…)

California’s unemployed: no restitution for the weary

Up to 2 million unemployed Americans, including nearly 411,000 in California, could lose the financial life raft of extended unemployment benefits should a deeply divided Congress fail to approve an extension of some sort by the end of November, reports Mary Ann Milbourn of The Orange County Register.

Some of those set to lose their benefits are the so-called long-term unemployed — those buoyed by the Fed program which extended benefits for up to 99 weeks in states like California that are suffering from high unemployment. But plenty of others will also face even harder times ahead. (more…)

$500 million just for the interest payments to cover California’s unemployed

Just days after signing the latest budget in state history, its becoming increasingly clear that California’s $19 billion budget hole wasn’t filled, but merely papered over.

First, the budget depends on over $5 billion in federal aid that has yet to be committed. Another $1.2 billion will emerge from a dubious real estate deal that sells off more than a dozen state-owned office buildings to private investors at the bottom of the commercial real estate cycle and rent the space back. The state’s Legislative Analysts Office says this scheme won’t generate a dime over the long haul and will end up costing taxpayers $1.5 billion more than would holding on to the buildings. (more…)

Quinn tries to keep Illinois at work

In lieu of expiring federal stimulus funds, Illinois Gov. Pat Quinn will spend $75 million in state cash to continue “Put Illinois to Work.” (more…)

Illinois employees could soon be put out of work

If the economy needs another round of stimulus programs, as Paul Krugman and other economists have suggested, then renewing the federally funded Put Illinois to Work and similar state programs are a good place to start. (more…)

A summer fling with employment

Here is some good, but not great, news for the Chicago job market: the Obama administration has provided a $11.1 million grant, via the stimulus bill, so the city can expand its summer youth jobs program. (more…)

Illinois unemployment ‘falls’

In all the state’s major newspapers and blogs today is the story that state unemployment dipped from 11.7 percent in April to 10.8 percent May. But the good news is fleeting — Illinois unemployment fell because temporary employees were hired to conduct the ten-year census, not because new permanent jobs were created. (more…)

Opportunity Knocks

The U.S. Census Bureau Tries to Manage an Unprecedented Hiring Blitz

By Matthew Blake

Heading into March, the current unemployment rate hovers near double digits, with almost fifteen million  Americans jobless. These numbers will be a little less grim this spring – temporarily, at least – when the U.S. Census Bureau goes on a six-week hiring blitz.

The Commerce Department, of which the Census Bureau is part, is touting these job creation statistics: because of the Census, Commerce says, 800,000 jobs will be created, the unemployment rate will go down, and the economy will even grow. Here in Chicago, the possibility of earning $18.25 an hour to ask people how old they are has raised the spirits of some of the city’s unemployed and underemployed. “It’s not really taxing, it’s flexible and the pay is decent,” says Noah Lepawsky, 32, of Chicago, a recent applicant for a census-taker position. There are lingering concerns, though, about whether the Obama administration is up to the task of what Census Bureau Director Robert Groves calls “the largest non-military mobilization in the United States.” (more…)

Fighting Fire With A Payroll Tax Holiday

The Wall Street Journal’s Phil Izzo reports on a couple of disquieting recession-related statistics: First, a quarter of the 8.4 million jobs lost in the recession are never, ever coming back — these jobs have been permanently outsourced, automated or simply disappeared. Second, the U.S. labor market is expected to add only 133,000 jobs a month — that barely covers 100,000 monthly new entrants into the labor force. Which means the unemployment rate is projected to decrease to 9.4 percent by December — only .3 percent better then what it is now.

Faced with such sweeping and complex macroeconomic questions there is only one responsible thing for a political journalist to do: see if we can blame Barack Obama. Well, Obama can only address unemployment as much as the Senate wants him to. And the jobs bill unveiled by Harry Reid yesterday is a modest measure built around a payroll tax holiday for employers as well as other hiring incentives. Perhaps Obama should use his bully pulpit to argue for more direct job creation. But it seems that neither the president nor Senate has the appetite to do with the labor market what the Federal Reserve did with Wall Street: radical government intervention.